Tuesday was National Day of the Girl, and at North Mianus School they celebrated by bringing a group from MasterCard’s Girls4Tech program to work with 40 fifth-grade girls.
Girls4Tech was founded in 2014 by Susan Warner, a former North Mianus parent, who works for MasterCard.
Ms Warner explained that Girls4Tech is a STEM education program developed to get girls excited about STEM careers.
The idea is that the more girls are exposed to different possible STEM careers, the more likely the tech workforce of the future will be 50-50.
Ms Warner said Girls4Tech has reached 56 countries, and 2.5 million girls have participated.
“We need girls because one in 20 girls will pursue a technology career,” Warner said. “One in 5 boys will pursue a technology career. Companies like ours need girls like you.”
Selectwoman Lauren Rabin participated in the program, explaining to the girls that in addition to her job helping running the town, she worked for Dell.
“When I was your age, all I did was think about math. I wasn’t really thinking about reading. That’s how I got into technology – they didn’t have STEM back then.”
“If you like math, stick with it because there may be a career for you in technology,” she added.
The program connected the foundations of payments technology to STEM principles through inquiry-based activities and real-world challenges. And the girls had fun! Ms Warner said MasterCard more of a technology company than just a credit card company.
Peter Bernstein, was part of a team who talked to the girls about fraud detection, relating it back to the work of familiar clue hunters like Nancy Drew and Shirlock Holmes.
He explained how MasterCard collects data to detect fraud every time someone uses one of their products. “Every time I pay with my credit card, MasterCard gets information, and sometimes information tells a story. That story might mean that somebody is doing something they’re not supposed to be doing. We want to spot the fakes.”
During Tuesday’s program the girls moved in small groups through different stations were they did hands on activities to learn about Cryptology, Big Data, All Things Digital, Fraud Detection, Cyber Hygiene, Algorithms, and Local Intelligence.